Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Illustration for article titled Why Kevin Spacey sounds like that on iHouse Of Cards/i

Ever wonder why Kevin Spacey’s accent on House Of Cards sounds so strange? Spacey is from California, and his character Frank Underwood is from the northern part of South Carolina, but Spacey’s accent on the show has a very specific sound to it that doesn’t just boil simply down to “southern.”


This Vox video traces the linguistics of this accent, providing historical context for Spacey’s use of r-dropping, which is becoming less and less common for white southerners. The video also runs through some of the other techniques employed by actors to achieve a southern sound, including ay-ungliding, which changes the sound of long vowels. For example, the word “terrified” would sound more like “terrifahd.”

The short video offers a crash course in linguistics and American dialects, with plenty of visuals and examples—including a soundbite from Beyoncé to demonstrate vowel shifts. Learn the components of Spacey’s Underwood accent, and then you can start narrating your own life just like him. (Don’t do that.)

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